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Advocates Teach California Lawmakers About Naturopathic Medicine
On March 4, naturopathic medicine supporters convened in Sacramento for the annual California Naturopathic Doctors Association’s (CNDA) Lobby Day. This event offers California legislators the opportunity to learn about the benefits of naturopathic medicine and an upcoming legislative bill the CNDA plans to support later this year.
A dedicated group of more than 60 students and faculty from Bastyr University California, naturopathic doctors (NDs), and other committed advocates began the day early at the State Capitol. Participants received a warm welcome and an introduction to the legislative process from CNDA leaders and lobbyists. From 10 a.m. until early evening, participants working in teams led by experienced advocates met with the offices of nearly 60 legislators to educate them about naturopathic medicine.
A number of newly elected legislators met with CNDA representatives for the first time, and established relationships were strengthened through the presence of CNDA members and Bastyr students and faculty. Many of the discussions with legislators centered on the unique strengths of NDs as primary health care providers, as well as naturopathic education and training. Because NDs are primary health care specialists, the profession can play a vital role in addressing the shortage of primary health care providers in California.
In 2003, NDs gained licensure in the state of California. With state licensure, a “scope of practice” was established for the profession that defines the allowable actions and treatments that can be performed by a licensed ND. The upcoming legislative bill proposes changes to the Naturopathic Practice Act that would enable California NDs to practice to the full extent of their training and education. This bill would allow licensed NDs to provide comprehensive primary health care services to patients and would reduce the dual utilization of health care services in California.
The March 4 gathering was the most well-attended CNDA Lobby Day yet. The CNDA will be working with their membership and the Bastyr campus to carry the momentum forward. Many new legislators will be taking office next fall, and it will be crucial to continue establishing and strengthening relationships with our legislators over the coming months.
The 2014 California Lobby Day closed with Bastyr University hosting a Mardi Gras-themed cocktail reception attended by ND advocates and legislators.
To find out more or get involved with the CNDA’s legislative work, please contact Lauren Fuhry, CNDA Legislative Affairs, at coordinator[at]calnd[dot]org or 310-670-8100.
The Bastyr University Center for Health Policy and Leadership (CHPL) is a nonpartisan, University-based center dedicated to advancing the understanding of health policy and leadership issues. The Center:
- Creates on-campus and external opportunities for participation in "essential, generative conversations."
- Hosts prominent scholars and health practitioners in discussion-oriented events.
- Provides a forum for scholarly research on health policy and leadership issues.
- Encourages citizens to actively participate in public affairs through experiential programs.